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[M 76]

Messier 76

Observations and Descriptions

Discovered by Pierre Méchain on September 5, 1780.

Messier: M76.
October 21, 1780. 76. 1h 28m 43s (22d 10' 47") +50d 28' 48"
Méchain: (22d 10' 26") +50d 28' 12"
"Nebula at the right foot of Andromeda, seen by M. Méchain on September 5, 1780, & he reports: "This nebula contains no star; it is small and faint". On the following October 21, M. Messier looked for it with his achromatic telescope, & it seemed to him that it was composed of nothing but small stars, containing nebulosity, & that the least light employed to illuminate the micrometer wires causes it disappear: its position was determined from the star Phi Andromedae, of fourth magnitude." (diam. 2')

William Herschel: H I.193. [Part of M76]
I.193. Nov. 12, 1787. Two close together. Both vB. dist. 2'. sp nf. One is 76 of the Conn.
Two nebulae close together. Both very bright. Distance 2'. One is south preceding and the other north following. One is 76 of the Connoissance [Messier's catalog].

[1811: PT Vol. 1811, p. 226-336; here p. 285]
8. Of double Nebulae with joined Nebulosity In addition to the instances referred to in the preceding article [Of Nebulae which are brighter in more than one Place], of nebulae that have more than one centre of attraction I give the following list of what may be called double nebulae. (*) See [15 nebulae, including M76 (H I.193)]

[SP2, p. 659]
1787, Nov. 12 (Sw. 780). Two close together, their nebulosities run into each other; distance of their centers is 1 1/2 or 2' [M76 and H I.193]. [actually, the whole object is M76]

Smyth: LXII [62]. M76.
LXII. 76 M. Persei.
AR 1h 32m 16s, Dec N 50d 46'.5
Mean Epoch of Observation: 1837.79 [Oct 1837]
An oval pearly white nebula, nearly half-way between Gamma Andromedae and Delta Cassiopeiae; close to the toe of Andromeda, though figured in the precincts of Perseus. It trends north and south, with two stars preceding by 11s and 50s, and two following nearly on the same parallel, by 19s and 36s; and just np of it is the double star above registered, of which A is 9 [mag], white; and B 14, dusky. When first discovered, Méchain considered it a mass of nebulosity; but Messier thought it was a compressed cluster; and WH [William Herschel] that it was an irresolvable double nebula. It has an intensely rich vicinity, and with its companions, was closely watched in my observatory, as a gauge of light, during the total eclipse of the moon, on the 13th of October, 1837, being remarkably well seen during the darkness, and gradually fading as the moon emerged. In 1842, I consulted Mr. Challis upon the definition of this nebula in the great Northumberland equatorial, and he replied: "I looked at the nebula, as you desired, and thought it had a sprangled appearance. The resolution, however, was very doubtful."

John Herschel, General Catalogue: GC 385 and GC 386.
GC 385 = M76.
RA 1h 33m 28.5m, NPD 39d 8' 52.4" (1860.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
vB; p of Dneb. 2 observations by W. & J. Herschel.
Very bright; preceding of double nebula.

GC 386 = H I.193.
RA 1h 33m 37.5m, NPD 39d 7' 27.4" (1860.0)
vB; f of Dneb
Very bright; following of double nebula.

[Further Observations on the Spectra of some Nebulae, with a Mode of determining the Brightness of these Bodies. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc., Vol. 156 (1866), p. 381-397; here p. 387]
[No. 385. 76 M. R.A. 1h 33m 28s.5. N.P.D. 39d 8' 52".4. Very bright; preceding of a double nebula.
No. 386. 193 H. 1. R.A. 1h 33m 37s.5. N.P.D. 39d 7' 27".4. Very bright; following of a double nebula.]
Both parts of this nebula give a gaseous spectrum. The brightest only of the three lines usually present was certainly seen. The second line is probably also present.
I suspect a faint continuous spectrum at the preceding edge of No. 386.

Dreyer: NGC 650 and NGC 651.
NGC 650 = GC 385; Méchain, M 76.
RA 1h 33m 31m, NPD 39d 8.3' (1860.0) [Right Ascension and North Polar Distance]
vB, p of Dneb; = M76
Very bright, preceding of double nebula.

NGC 651 = GC 386 = H I.193.
RA 1h 33m 34m, NPD 39d 7.7' (1860.0)
vB, f of Dneb; = M76
Very bright, following of double nebula.

[Photographs of Nebulae and Clusters, Made with the Crossley Reflector, by James Edward Keeler, Director of the Lick Observatory, 1898-1900. Publications of the Lick Observatory, Vol. VIII, 1908]
[Plate 5. The Nebula M76 Persei]
[p. 30] NGC 650, RA= 1:36: 0, Dec=+51: 4.0 (1900.0), M76
[p. 45] No. 5, NGC 650, 1899 Sep 11, exp. 3h 00m, Enl. 3.4, Top S, M76.

[Descriptions of 762 Nebulae ans Clusters photographed with the Crossley Reflector. Publ. Lick Obs., No. 13, Part I, p. 9-42]
NGC 650-1, RA= 1h 36.0m, Dec=+51d 4'. Planetary. 5 s.n.

[The Planetary Nebulae. Publ. Lick Obs., No. 13, Part III, p. 55-74]
[with Lick b/w photo, Fig. 3]
NGC 650-1; 1h 36.0m; +51d 4'.
Enlarged 5.8 times from a negative of 4h exposure. Central star of magn 16. Quite irregular, but evidently to be included as one of the larger members of the planetary class. The central and brighter portion of the nebula is an irregular, patchy oblong 87"x42" in p.a. 40deg; from the ends of which faint, irregular, ring-like wisps extend; total length 157" in p.a. 128 deg. Brightest patch at southern end of central part. Rel. Exp. 20.

  • Observing Reports for M76 (IAAC Netastrocatalog)

    Hartmut Frommert
    Christine Kronberg

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    Last Modification: October 21, 2005